We drove. We drove for ages. We stopped at 2AM in the back of a Wal-Mart parking lot for a few hours. I coaxed Jess awake and got her to lean against the car for a while, while Dean went to get some supplies.
Dean dropped us off in front so I could half-carry her to one of the family restrooms and change her bandages. I cringed at the sight of her wounds. From her shoulders to her knees she was a mess of dark bruises and oozing cuts. I didn't want to think of the internal damage the wolves had done. It looked like some of the wounds were getting infected. She vomited into the sink when I was done changing her dressings. She wearily indicated she was ready to go back to the car. We were back on the road by four.
We pressed on, only stopping for gas. I made sure to give Jess pain pills every four hours on the dot. They didn't seem to do much good. They put her to sleep, but she whimpered and moaned anyway.. Dean and I traded off driving and sitting in the back with her.
We were two hours from Sioux Falls when she started to shake like she did in Grand Junction. About fifteen minutes later her eyes flew open and she screamed. Her head lowered back to my lap and she looked at me, tears running down her face.
"She ok?" Dean asked, afraid to turn around.
"What do you think?"
"Can you give her another pain pill?"
"I gave her two, a couplehours ago. It's just with the internal damage I'm worried it'll do more harm than good." She let out another scream.
"This was a bad idea."
I ran my hand over her forehead. She was burning up.
"She has a fever," I said.
"See if you can figure out what's infected. Then call Bobby and make sure they're ready."
I rolled up her shirt as gently as I could. Her right side was red and she screamed at the slightest touch. I didn't look at the ooze coming out of the stitches knowing there was nothing I could do about it. I tried to ignore the blood mixed in.
"Half the cuts on her right side. It's not good."
"I'm going as fast as I can." The car hit a pothole and jolted. The resulting shout felt like it nearly shattered my eardrums. I was glad we were alone on the road.
"You may want to slow down a bit."
"Just shut up and call Bobby." I fumbled for my phone and dialed.
"Hello Singer Auto and Salvage. This is John."
"Listen you guys need to get antibiotics and suture kits and pain meds. Have a bed ready, too." Another bump. Jess seemed to beyond screaming now, and she just made a noise in the back of her throat.
"Slow down, Sam. What was that noise?"
"Jess. She was already hurt bad, then the demon and the trip and some of her wounds are infected and she hasn't spoken since before the demon. All she's done and whimper and scream."
"It's ok, Sam. We'll get her fixed up. How far out are you?"
Jess' eyes rolled back in her head and her entire body began spasming.
"Shit. Shit. Shit!"
"Sam? Sam?" I heard from the dropped phone.
"Sammy?" came from the front seat.
"She's having a seizure."
"Get her on her side." After the longest half minute of my life I was covered in vomit. Blood was soaking through Jess' shirt. I picked the phone up?
"Dad, I'm scared."
"Is she still breathing?"
"Yes, sir." I snapped back into hunter mode. I felt the car rev underneath me as Dean held firm at exactly the speed limit.
"Is she bleeding?"
"Get that under control, and get here."
"We'll take care of her. I'm not gonna let my future daughter-in-law die an hour from home."
"Thanks. We'll see you soon."
I ended the call and let the phone clatter to the floorboards. I reached to the front of the car and pulled multi-purpose tool out of the glove compartment. I skipped the niceties. She could forgiveme later for the shirt.
I finally took in her injuries. There was the incision from the surgery, of course. There were the wounds from the first demon attack. Some of them had healed into smooth pink scars, but the ones in her back especially were still deep and scabbed, and oozing blood now. There were the wounds from the werewolf attack, going all around her body. They extended down her hips to her knees. There was also a set down her left arm. Along her right side were the injuries from this morning.
Blood was drippingif not outright flowing from most of the wounds, and there were stitches popped everywhere from her seizure. I was almost glad she was unconscious.I needed to start taking them out. Blood and pus was everywhere, and they weren't doing any good where they were.
"Dean, don't youdare get pulled over."
"I won't. How is she?"
"She had a seizure and she has two hundred stitches in her body.Half of them just came out. She should be in the hospital."
"I get it, Sammy. Do you need me to take care of her?"
"I got it, I got it. Just drive."
"I'm so sorry, baby. I'm so sorry." I wasn't crying. I was absolutely not crying.
I folded out the knife and wished I could sterilize it.I worked through the stitches one at a time. I was halfway up the first cut when she woke up. I have never heard a scream so loud or piercing in my life. The car lurched to the side.
"I'm so sorry, baby. I can't imagine how bad it hurts. I have to start getting these stitches out sothey don't snag, ok?" She pushed my hands away the best she could. "Alright, I'll stop. How far are we Dean?"
"Maybe ten minutes. Brace her. We're about toturn onto a dirt road. Better call and let them know we're close." Dean looked at us in the rearview. "And get that bleeding under control!"
I glanced down. The cut I had removed the stiches from was gushing blood down her sides.. I snatched up the ruined t-shirt and put down pressure. Jess had slipped unconscious again. I held pressure with one hand and fumbled with the phone with the less bloody one.
"Singer Auto and Salvage."
"Bobby we're less than ten minutes out. She's bleeding bad."
"We got everything short of an OR here, Sam. We'll be ready for you. She had anymore seizures?"
"No. She's been in and out of consciousness."
"That's not surprising with what she's been through. Try and hold her steady."
The line went dead. Five minutes later we pulled into Bobby's driveway. Bobby and Dad were standing on the front porch and ran down the stair as soon as they saw the Impala. Dean put the car in park and threw open the door. He scooped up Jess and we moved together, keeping pressure on the worst of the bleeding. Bobby took one look at her and looked more scared than I've ever seen a veteran hunter look.
"What on Earth did you idjits do to this girl? Dean, give her here 'fore you kill her." Dean placed her carefully in Bobby's outstretched arms, and Dad pushed me aside. We followed them inside.
They had her set on the kitchen table. Dad was pulling stitches while Bobby tried to find a vein. He had somehow managed to get some IV antibiotics.
"What do you need us to do, Bobby?" Dean asked.
"Get me some clean wet towels, and get out of the way."
Hold on tight, Sammy
"Yes, sir. Come on, Sammy." He tugged on my arm. I followed him upstairs. I held my arms out obediently to hold on to the towels.
"Take these to Bobby, then get yourself cleaned up. You smell like puke. Then meet me by the Impala." Dean was giving me orders. I couldn't quite wrap my head around why.
"But Jess, I- I have to help."
"I know. The best thing we can do is stay out of the way, and we're staying out of the way we may as well save the upholstery."
"I know it's not easy."
Dean didn't try to stop me as I walked out. He looked like I had just punched him. I laid the towels out on the table when I went downstairs.
"How is she?"
"Well, she's not dead."
"That's it. Not dead. You shouldn't have dragged her halfway across the country. Or did you forget how to demon proof a room?" Dad had a point.
"No, sir. It just didn't help with what's after us."
"Get out. Just- you're in the way, Sam."
"Is she going to be ok?"
"Right now, I don't know."
"Dean wanted to clean the Impala, so I'm gonna change and we'll be out there."
"Alright. Just let us work." Dad really did want me gone. "I'd say we should take her to the hospital, Bobby, but I don't know if she'd make it into town."
"We'll just have to do our best here. She's tough. She'll be fine. Have some nasty scars, but she'll be fine."
"She doesn't have a choice. When she had that seizure in the car I thought it killed Sammy."
I backed slowly out of the room. I didn't need to hear this. Apparently helping Dean was my only option. I trudged upstairs and tossed my shirt in the trash and wiped down everything else. I discovered that a pretty good way to tell that I was at a low point was when cleaning up blood and vomit were the best things I could think to do.
"Decided to help after all?" Dean asked.
"I apparently don't have a choice," I said, as I rummaged through my bag, pulling on a clean shirt.
"She will be ok, Sam."
"You don't know that."
"She'll be out of the game awhile, sure, but if she's as tough as we think she is she'll be fine."
"We should've stayed in Oregon."
"We couldn't. Not with half of Hell after us, and the salt lines didn't hold."
"I knew it was going to be hard on her, but I didn't think it would be this bad."
"You didn't think it'd nearly kill her?"
"Did you?" was my retort.
"Right. Least we're safe here."
"We can't stay forever. There are kids out there who don't know what we do that also have half of Hell after them."
"Yeah, I think we have our own crises to deal with."
"I'm really trying not to think about what's going on in there."
"So you think you're going to tell them about the demon blood thing?" Dean got the point and changed the subject.
"I don't think I have a choice. It sort of comes along with the why there are demons after us story."
"They aren't going to kick you out, Sam, even if they're uncomfortable with it. They need me around and they're both wrapped around Jess' finger, and if you go we're going."
"Apparently all the Winchester men are," I deadpanned.
"She's charming." Dean grinned. "And sorta badass," he added hastily.
"Yeah, she is."
"I'm telling you, Sammy – marry that girl."
"She said no."
Dean looked up so fast he whacked his head on the door.
"She said- you proposed?" Dean stuttered.
"It was an accident. While we were in Grand Junction. It just sorta came out. Not like I planned it or anything."
"You proposed and you didn't tell me?"
"She said no."
"It doesn't matter. I'm your big brother. You are contractually obligated to tell me these things."
"Seriously, would you tell me if you proposed to a girl and she said no?"
"I resent your implication."
"What? That you would get married?"
"That I would get married to a girl. Bitch."
"You ever gonna tell Dad about the whole pretty face is a pretty face thing, jerk?"
"Eh, if I ever settle down with a guy, I might. Need to know basis."
"Not like you're going to be settling down anytime soon anyway, right?"
"Not if I have my way about it."
We cleaned in silence for a while. The blood had started to congeal and I knew Dean wouldn't tolerate bloodstains on his upholstery. If felt like it was taking forever.
"So how do we find the other kids?"
"There's something. There has to be. We just have to find it."
"So a crap ton of research for something that might not even be out there?"
"I'm formulating some ideas," I said.
"Care to share?"
"Formulating. I don't have any solid ideas yet." Mom's words in the memory hadme thinking though. I just didn't have a grip on what they could mean yet.
"You wanna go check on Jess?" Dean asked.
"Yeah. I'll be back. She's probably passed out."
"Can't say I blame her." I nodded and went inside.
"Damn it, Jess. Don't do this to me. Don't this to Sam." My stomach dropped and landed somewhere in the basement.
I stood in the doorway of the kitchen. There was blood everywhere. Dad was on top of the table doing CPR.
"Sam, get in here and get on top of this bleeding," Bobby barked.
I ran over and applied pressure to the wounds. Bobby pressed two fingers to her wrist.
"She's back John." Dad sighed and got off the tale.
"What happened?" I didn't try to blink away the tears.
"Those old wounds on her back from the demon attack opened back up. There's a lot of blood loss, and her body's been through Hell.She's going to be ok, Sam."
"You keep saying that."
"I've seen hunters come back from worse. Patched a few of them up on this table," Bobby added.
"Is there anything I can do?"
"Stay out of the way. You don't need to see this," Dad said, taking over my job.
"We've got her, Sam."
"Hold on, Jess. Please," I told her, as I backed out.
I walked mechanically outside. Dean looked up at me. It occurred to me I was covered in Jess' blood. I sat down on thesteps and waited for him to come to me. He put the rag down.
"Sammy, what happened? Is she-" He couldn't bring himself to finish the sentence.
"She's alive. Barley, and I mean we just brought her back."
"Her back cracked open again. Bobby got some blood somewhere, but it doesn't seem like it's enough.Dean, I don't think she's gonna make it. Dad keeps saying she's gonna be fine." I was choking on my words, ignoring the fact I was about to start crying again.
"I got you, baby brother, I got you." In an uncharacteristic display of affection, Dean wrapped an arm around my shoulders and waited it out. We sat there on the porch until the sun went down.
"The Impala clean?" I finally asked.
"Yeah." I knew he was lying.
"Ok," I said anyway.
He was waiting with me. I knew he was as worried as I was. I leaned into him a little like I did when we were kids.
"Should we go raid the library see if we can find something on the Yellow-Eyed bastard?" I asked after a minute.
We stood up and went to theextensive library that occupied Bobby's den. The man had enough rare books to give most collectors a heart attack. I had loved it from the second I learned to read. I spent every hour we were at Bobby's devouring the information and I could pull it out of my head in a second during a hunt. There had been a time when the Winchester family was a well-oiled hunting machine.
I grabbed a book with a title so faded it was no longer legible. I cracked it open and settled into reading. Dean did the same. The annoying thing about demons was they were in every culture and every place had different lore. The only advantage we had was that we knew exactly what we were looking for.
Honestly it wasn't like I was absorbing much. The kitchen was mostly quiet, and all I could think about was how Jess was doing. I occasionally heard Bobby or Dad ask each other for a bandage or a new suture kit. I fidgeted on the couch. Dean kept looking over his book to glare at me.
"Let's just go check."
He shut his book and set it on the coffee table, sending up a cloud of dust. He stood and motioned for me to follow. He stood in the doorway of the kitchen, and half a smile graced his face. I went to stand behind him.
"How is she?" he asked, softly.
"She's gonna make it. I wouldn't be surprised if she stays out for a few days, and she'll need someone with her at all times for a while," Bobby said.
"We can work in four hour shifts," Dean said.
"She's gonna make it," I breathed.
"You can come in. She ain't gonna break any more than she already has," Bobby said.
There was an IV poking into her, giving her fluids, blood and antibioticsHer wounds were stitched and bandaged, but I could see there was a lot of fresh bruising. There were dark, almost black circles under her eyes, and she was gray, save for where a bruise was blooming on her jaw. They had cleaned out the pus, and by the way her ribs were wrapped I knew Dad had cracked a few when he gave her CPR.I walked in, and picked up the hand without the needle in it.
"I'm so sorry, Jess. This wasn't supposed to happen. I was supposed to keep you safe."
"Sam, get Dean to carry the IV bag up when you take her upstairs," Dad said.
"Let's give him a minute." Bobby and Dean nodded, following Dad out. Dean hesitated.
"Can I tell them, Sammy?"
You can't keep it a secret forever, Sammy.
"Please. I don't want to talk about it right now."
"I'll bring them up to date. We can get this figured out. Get me when you're ready."
I sat and held her hand, and apologized over and over again. I took first shift when we went upstairs.
A/N: So there's that. Uh, I love feedback, and given that my life is falling apart right now, it's the only thing keeping me together.